Sunday, December 13, 2009

Drupal Camp Manila: Crossing the Tech Side (again)

Yesterday, I was at Drupal Camp Manila at G2iX to give full support to DigitalFilipino Club member Rachel Jaro.

The nice thing I enjoyed about this event is the opportunity of meeting new people especially on the tech side.

I admire the work that Rick Bahague does in CP-Union where they develop and teach Drupal to non-profits. Discovered Open Atrium as well and included this in my must try experiment soon.

Impressed also on how Jeffrey Ocaya used sites like Picasa Web album to store and publish photo streams in his site. Managing photos is one of the concerns I have with Drupal.
Easy Drupal installation techniques and tools suggestion by Marc Caballero were more than helpful. Will tinker on Mobify and the top 40 Drupal modules.

I've been thinking about Drupal for quite sometime now as a possible platform for DigitalFilipino.com's future site. However, I had my share of hesitation for the work that needs to be done that includes url redirect, SEO friendliness, site structure, among others. However, Daniel Honrade Jr.'s Devavrata theme for Drupal is something that I am eager to tinker and see if it can be used for the site.

Jan Pabellon talked about workflow automation matching with that of John Ross Castaño about forms API just made me realize about a solution being asked of me on workflow.

One session that also got me thinking about opportunities is that of Globe Labs' Greg Igaya.

Look forward joining Drupal Camp again next year.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Perspective on Cyber Bullying for Teenagers, Teachers, Educators, and Parents


Last October 12 (2009), I got invited by fellow blogger Br. Vince Celeste of Marist School Marikina to talk about "Cyber Bullying". Here are some of the talk points I made about this topic.

1. Teens dominate Filipino Internet user population
  • 49% of the country's Internet users today are age 19 years old and below.
  • 83% hang-out in social networks
  • 63% blog
The popularity of Internet use, listening to music, mobile phone usage, and other online/offline activities shows that teenagers today multi-task and has a 5 minutes attention span.

This also allowed teenagers to have more friends and not limited to their physical neighborhood and school environment. An average online teenager has nearly a hundred friends on instant messaging tools, social networks, and in their mobile phone. (Source: MTV Circuits of Cool 2008 and MTV Music Matters 2008)

2. Social networks as hang-out
In addition to the usual face-to-face mingling with friends, teenagers appreciate what the world of social networks has to offer and have flocked sites like Facebook (and Friendster) that provides facilities such as photo sharing, profile customization, information exhange, testimonials, notes, application sharing, and tagging.

Being online today allows teenagers to:
  • Meet new people.
  • Build an identity.
  • Collaborate with others.
  • Learn.
  • Earn.
  • Discover groups that caters to a variety of interest.
  • Express oneself.
3. Teenagers can make a name for themselves online.
If used well, teenagers can also be a force online and be known. Some notable teenagers whom I have observed that used the Internet to make a name for themselves include:
  • Charice Pempengco
    Aspiring artist who reached international acclaim by joining competitions and sharing her talent via YouTube.
  • Carl Ocab
    Uses the Internet to teach people how to make money online in collaboration with his father.
  • Kevin Ray Chua
    Users the Internet to share his political perspective and take a stand for it. He played an important role in the creation of Cebu Bloggers Society.
  • Kelvin Servigon
    Shares his talent/skill through his blog.
4. Setbacks on being online
The power that one feels for being online, where you can do almost anything you want, also has consequences if not managed well. This includes:
  • Meeting people who can be a bad influence. Or you becoming a bad influence to others.
  • Attracting or giving too much attention on developments happening in your online community to the point of being abused or you being bullied.
  • Reckless uploading of photos and videos which may inflict harm or humiliation to yourself or to others.
  • Rants expressed through blog posts, forums, status messages, among others that can be misinterpreted and maybe used against you later on.
  • Nicknames and status messages whose meaning may be misinterpreted and can create a misperception about the person.
  • Posting of contact information online that may result to unwanted phone calls, text messages, e-mails, and are sometimes used by others to create fake profiles of you.
5. Rules of engagement
I think teenagers going online should make it clear to themselves basic rules of engagement and constantly checks it before things can go out of hand. Such as:
  • Opinion and feedback
    Although each one of us are entitled to our own opinion, readers can also post to express what they think. If you can dish it out, you have to be able to take the response you'll get - positive or negative.
  • Think before you post.
    Teenagers should think if what they are about to post online is something that they won't mind saying to the person or to strangers face-to-face. If it can result to trouble, will it be worth your time? Can you take accountability, ownership, and responsibility for what you are about to say online?
  • Can you admit your mistakes?
    Whenever we post an opinion online, one possibility is our actions will be analyzed and mistakes (out-of-line) being called upon. If and when that happens, will you be cool enough to admit your mistake or fight for what you believe in?
  • Be constructive and respectful.
    There is definitely nothing wrong in expressing an opinion about those around us. However, if it is something that you prefer to post online rather than discuss privately, best to communicate your concerns in a manner that is constructive and respectful. Make sure as well that you have done your due diligence rather than appear as reckless.
  • You have the right not to be harassed.
    Therefore you can take action against those who does such to you and this can be explored suing legal means (among others). Do not hesitate to ask for help, especially from cyber-savvy elders in your school or family, before things blow out of proportion.
  • Expectations from friends
    Just because they are your friends, you can't assume that they will pick up the battles you are into. True friendship should prompt us to care more about our relationships rather than engage in activities that will endanger it. Friendship that grows and mature are those that foster mutual respect, tolerance, and understanding.

    Just the same, especially for girls, if you receive a gossip that your friend said something bad about you, don't just go online and make "parinig" through your status update. Best to catch up and clear the air. Always prioritize in saving your friendship for there are things that once said publicly, can't be taken back easily.
Parents and educators needs to learn social networking in order to be capable in supporting teenagers today. You are encouraged to:
  • Be updated
    Familiarize yourself with social networks and other sites frequently visited by teenagers today. Read up on the terms of service especially on "abuse" related policies. Connect with online groups and individuals who can provide advise and help later on.
  • Respect individuality and privacy
    We will see a lot of content being posted online by our kids and it is best to stay on the background rather than be intrusive.
  • Give advise and discuss social network abuses
    For instance, if you see other kids bullying your kid on their Facebook wall or accusing them of wrong doing or resorting to name calling, tell them to delete such as it may create a negative impression on them (even if those are just jokes). Teach your kid how to disable status message posting on their wall so that they can perform such action when the need for it comes.

    There are many stories published online about teen issues on social networks such as handling of relationship break-ups, friends arguing and threatening each other, posting of humiliating pictures, among others. Talk to them and ask what they would do in case something like that happens.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reed diffusers for long lasting home fragrances

For the past few years, I have grown quite fond of aromatherapy home fragrance. We have a few stocks of reed diffuser (usually in the form of bamboo stick or aroma oil) at home and this I look forward to whenever I get to visit the family in Australia. What I like about these scents is the relaxation they bring. Some can even make you nostalgic and remember special past events.



As I spend most of my time in the Philippines taking care of family and business concerns, I get my taste of aromatherapy using hair care products infused by them such as Palmolive shampoo and conditioner aromatherapy series (I prefer the Lavander fragrance). When the occassion arises to visit a spa, I prefer those that has abundant fragrances available such as The Spa and Blue Water.

Self-publishing trial & error


Last year, I made a blog post about lessons learned in self-publishing. It was made before the release of Blogging from Home (my 11th published work composed of books and research reports).

Holly Jahangiri just posted a three-part series on this topic tackling a prospective author's desire to write a book, avoiding scams aimed at writers, and to self-publish or not. As I am now working on 2 books, the said blog posts are more than timely.

The benefits of publishing a book
It will depend on the field you are in. Publishing a book helps in documenting what you know and being able to position yourself. It can become a powerful resume or body of work. In my case, I also use my book as a perk or benefit to those joining the DigitalFilipino Club where active members get a free copy.
It can help boost your credibility as well especially if the completed work is done well enough and reaches the hands of people who makes decisions.

Be realistic
It depends on the subject you are tackling, the number of people eager in buying a copy of your book can be easily miscalculated. With information explosion online, it is tougher to sell a book now than before. Some models you can consider:
  • Sell at an affordable price and go for volume sales
  • Sell at an upper price range and recover your investment within a year

Self-publishing or not
It depends. Had past experiences where two of my works were published by others but the whole dissemination was entirely left to me. If you can find one who can do the cover, layout, registration, sales, and promotion, then you got a great deal.


However, not many had that kind of opportunity and are mostly left in taking care most parts on their own.


Self-publishing is a worthy exercise as long as you are realistic on the returns and not relying solely on book sales.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Jupiter Suites: Internet-access friendly Makati hotel


One of the things I regularly do is conduct workshops. These are often done in Makati and commuting back-and-forth to Quezon City can be quite expensive since I prefer taking a taxi and sleep along the way.

In my e-commerce workshop last August 10 to 12, I decided to stay at Jupiter Suites in Makati City (club member Leo Fuentes of AIE College who attended my workshop also did the same). What I like about the hotel are the following services:

  • Free Internet access in the room
    This is a big deal for me as most of my travels often require me to go at the lobby area just to gain access to free Internet or visit a nearby Internet cafe or use my mobile phone just to go online.

  • Free breakfast
    It is a challenge though if you are on a diet as the choices are pretty limited. However, if you want to enjoy Filipino breakfast, it is a nice treat.

  • Spacious room
    This is most useful if you have a lot of stuff with you.

If you are staying for more than 2 nights, they can arrange for your airport pick-up as well.


Another nice thing about being in Makati is that you can just step outside and visit the cosmopolitan restaurants, entertainment spots (bars, karaoke, videoke, etc.), spas, and the like in the area.



View Jupiter Suites Hotel Makati City Manila Philippines in a larger map

Jupiter Suites (also formerly known as Jupiter Arms Hotel) is located at Jupiter Street corner Makati Avenue (beside Mercury Drug), Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines. You can also call (632) 8905044 to 50 for further inquiries.

Related:

Friday, August 21, 2009

E-Commerce Consulting & Services

I have been part of the e-commerce industry since 1997 and fortunate enough to meet a lot of people in this field. Saw some of them grow, flourish, and some closed shop. Some I got the chance to feature in my e-commerce writings and others became part of my e-commerce club.

I also noticed that a lot of the e-commerce entrepreneurs that I know of have began offering e commerce consulting and have their own suite of ecommerce services ranging from e-commerce strategy planning to full execution.
I am glad that e-commerce is continuously flourishing even though in a slow and gradual manner. Those who really know what they are doing and doesn't hesitate to innovate are the ones that last and remain standing to date.
Hopefully, my next book on e-commerce will be able to feature all the lessons learned on these e-commerce pioneers.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Group facial & diamond peel at Clarity

Last July 31, I posted a shout-out on Facebook inviting two lady bloggers to join me for a facial and diamond peel session at Clarity.

Lace and Nika responded and had our taste of Clarity's beauty through expert care service at its Shangri-la EDSA Mall Mandaluyong branch last August 3.

Upon arrival, we were given a briefing of the various services offered by Clarity and its facilities. Afterwards, we started our facial and diamond peel session in our respective treatment rooms.
During the facial session, I like being told when an area might hurt before it gets prick. I know that is not a big deal but at least I get to be prepared than be caught by surprise.

For a person like me with freckles, an option that I can take in the future, in conjunction with a diamond peel, is their intense pulsed light laser treatment or IPL. I was told it reverses age spots, freckles, broken veins, and large pores so that the skin looks tight.


As I've tried several facial centers in the past, I am always observant on how my face feels after a session. Despite not having a facial cleaning session for a long time, liked the way how my skin was taken cared of. It had a very smooth and blushing finish that just awed me.
I have been a loyal customer of Healthway, especially for dental maintenance and other multi-specialty medical services. When I signed up as a Healthway cardholder back then, was able to try out a session at Clarity and tried its diamond peel.

Great to know that the service was still as good and look forward in trying it again soon. Budget for a facial with diamond peel session is one thousand five hundred pesos (P1500). They also have promotional discounts. Make sure you inquire about them when booking an appointment.

I was happy to find out that Clarity has pediatric dental services as well where parents with special kids can bring their child for proper consultation.

By the way, you might want to become a fan of Clarity's Facebook page. They will have promotions there soon where you might be able to get a free facial and diamond peel session.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Credit cards, financial planning, & living within your means

One of the biggest challenges of being a freelancer is sustaining your income, lifestyle, and keep up by investing in the business you are in. Last June 27, I catched up with Carlo Ople by accepting his invite to attend a financial planning briefing by Randell Tiongson.

Everything that he discussed there about savings, credit, among others, I wish were taught earlier during my younger days. Usually, when you are in your mid to late 20s, you'll get and experience a lot of stuff for the first time. One of them is access to credit and credit cards.

Today, I use credit cards as a tool in the conduct of my business and in situations where cash is not enough or accepted. But in the past, I had my share of carelessness and its consequences leave a permanent scar.

The limit in a credit card tends to blind you on the stuff that you "like", although "not urgently needed", and you start buying things that you thought can be paid off easily. Then your account becomes delinquent which you may eventually settle and in some cases forgotten.

But in this day and age, there's no forgotten credit and with search technologies online, you may just receive a phone call one day and there goes your collector who threatens you with an overbloated amount, a lawsuit, and an amnesty offer. Those of us who have been there knows how traumatic can those phone calls get as they tend to shaken you and even break you down.

When I encounter friends who need to borrow money to pay off another debt, my advise always boils down to negotiation for a reasonable amount as allowing yourself to be harassed may make you do more stupid things and further bury yourself into debt.

With those experiences, I have learned to live within reasonable means.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

E-Commerce & Blogging for to-Retire UP Employees


Last May 27 to 29, I was at the APEC Digital Opportunity Center, National Computer Center, UP Diliman Quezon City and conducted a workshop about e-store creation, online payment, blogging 101, and Internet / blog marketing (interested parties can attend our August 10 to 12 session).
This was made possible by the UP Center for Women's Studies whom I've been actively supporting in their IT literacy efforts through DigitalFilipino since 2007.

My session was part of the "Entrepreneurship and ICT for to Retire UP Employees” seminar workshop that happened last May 25 to 29 where a lot of them are women. Participants are about to retire within five or ten years from now. The objective is to develop and enhance the entrepreneurial and ICT skills and knowledge of the participants.

I felt fortunate to be part of advocacies such as this that aims to spread the knowledge about e-commerce to women locally and internationally. In the past few years, also got several club members involved in the process.

Thanks to social networking, a lot of us are able to keep in touch up to this time.

"Search and You Shall Find 2!" talk at De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde


Through DigitalFilipino Club member Adolfo Aran III, I got invited last February 24 to be a speaker by the De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde Emerging Trends in Marketing Class and Junior Marketing Association on the topic about Search Engine Marketing & Optimization 101 dubbed as "Search & You Shall Find".


I enjoyed the experience so much that I requested for the title of the seminar to be exclusively mine and will be more than happy to continue with the series.



I'll be back again at De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde this August 13 to deliver an updated talk on the topic. See you DLS-CSB!



Search engine marketing & optimization is certainly one popular topic in my ongoing e-commerce, blogging, social networking, Internet marketing workshop series happening this July 27 to 31 and August 10 to 12.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Search Engine Marketing, Web Content Writing & Development Workshop for NCRFW


Last June 11, I got invited to conduct a one-day Search Engine Marketing, Web Content Writing, and Development Workshop for PhilGAD Portal Content Owners and Page Maintainers at the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) Conference Room, 1145 J.P. Laurel, St., Malacañang Complex, San Miguel, Manila.

The hands-on workshop taught participants how to write and develop web content that is useful and attractive for its target audience to attain search engine rankings. It will also provide tips and techniques to get your site to the top of search engine rankings (e.g. Google, Yahoo, and MSN) and stay there.
I think the Commission has an interesting challenge whereby their role as an entity is heavily driven by advocacy related programs. They have an opportunity as an agency of the government to influence how search engines perceive Filipinas or Filipino women online. I do hope that they will take such challenge.

Many thanks again to NCRFW for this opportunity!

P.S. I'll be doing an Web / SEO Content Writing and SEO Tools & Techniques workshop this July 27 in Makati City. Parties interested can sign-up there directly.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Country style dining at Flapjacks


I was able to visit Flapjacks last Thursday and Friday at Greenbelt 3 and UP AyalaLand TechnoHub for two different meetings. The place reminds me of a breakfast spot in Los Angeles where the atmosphere feels like being in a big family table.

I tried the pork chop although if you don't like eating the fat area, it may not be enough to finish the rice. The bottomless coffee was certainly a delight.

They also have a loyalty card that you can get for free upon purchase of its gift certificate worth P1500. Since Italiannis and TGI Fridays (I used to watch those bartenders competition there!) are some of my favorite spots, I will likely avail of that card in my next visit.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Appetizer sampler at Sports Plus Cafe Eastwood


Last April 7, I was at the Eastwood Quezon City area for the DigitalFilipino Social Networking Awards judging phase. Later that afternoon, catch up with the AKA Mobile Directory team at Sports Plus Cafe to be given a demo of their site.

We ordered this huge appetizer sampler and found it to be a good deal as we were not even able to fully consume it. I think one of that can already be good for 5 people to share and enjoy with their drinks. Also, I like their house red wine.

You can find Sports Plus Cafe inside Eastwood IT Park, Libis, Quezon City.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Finding the right car for a student driver

Two of my kids will be back by early next year from Australia to pursue their college education here. I'm now pressured again to learn how to drive so that these two will find it easier to move around with me joining them.

Although they could also learn how to drive but the responsibility maybe too much for such tender age.

I always wanted to have a van although with the idea of me as the passenger rather than the driver. The same goes for sports utility vehicles. A car is interesting but more for short trips. I'd rather take a public transport for longer ones as I might fall asleep without having an alternate.

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I've been checking out various forums and online car sites to explore available models that will capture my attention. So far, the new ones are pretty interesting such as the chevy impala (2009 Chevrolet Impala). The Car Connection site gave it a 6.6 rating.

What has been said so far with its roomy passenger cabins, engine features, safety test ratings, sounds fine to me. It doesn't have to scream with good looks as it may also cause a lot of trouble later on such as car theft, among others.

It may not be an exciting choice but from a practical point of view, should we decide to buy a new one instead of 2nd hand, I will definitely keep this car in mind as one of our options.

Blue marlin salpicado & cake sampler at Chocolate Kiss

Eating fish is a priority I have in mind whenever I return home from visiting the family in Australia. So when JJ told me that we'll be meeting at Chocolate Kiss at UP Bahay ng Alumni, last April 8, for the Bloggers Election Handbook, immediately said "Sure!".

So for this brunch meeting, I ordered Blue Marlin Salpicado and that famous cake sampler (carrot cake, fruit cake, and chocolate cake I think). This place is quite popular though and it is best to arrive early when planning to dine here.

Prior to the meeting, also got a phone call overseas about making me part of this super users group. I'm excited!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Art Circle Gallery showcases Philippine Art


Last Wednesday, April 8, I chance upon the Art Circle Gallery located at the U.P. Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman, Quezon City. Was allowed to take some snapshots and given a brochure. Working on this post made me realize that the gallery is actually a big establishment with outlets in major mall areas.


Looking at the photos taken, brochure, and artwork posted at the Art Circle Gallery website, we really have a lot of great artist in the Philippines. Some of the art work I've seen just blows me away. As in WOW! Check them out!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Bulk buy Jelly Beans - Kosher Pareve certified

Just found out that folks can buy Bulk Jelly Beans at Oh! Nuts at very competitive prices. This can either be for personal or home consumption or as a gift to someone.

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I also got intrigued as I have not encountered a product before, such as the Jelly Beans available in the site, that is Kosher Pareve certified.

A food item is considered Kosher if it follows Jewish Dietary Laws which are lifted from Biblical laws and rabbinical extensions. Oh! Nuts Jelly Beans, manufactured by Gimbal's, are Kosher Pareve certified and, if I'm not mistaken, are made under rabbinical supervision. There is a growing set of customer base worldwide, not necessarily Jewish, who prefer Kosher food for its traditions and meticulousness from start to finish.

Oh! Nuts Jelly Beans typical price per pound (lb) is US$5.99. However, 10% bulk discount is given to those who purchase 10 to 49 lbs. For 50 lbs and above, the discount rate of 20% is extended.

With nearly sixty (60) colorful variants of Jelly Beans to choose from, I'm sure interested buyers in the U.S. will find one that suits their taste.

I think these are also great gift item variants that can be served during special occasions, gifts to friends and family, or celebrations like birthdays and the likes.

How to play Sudoku

Since last week, I have been playing around with this Sudoku game from eSoft Interactive and wanting to do a blog post about it.

Then I recalled how confusing it was for me to figure out how Sudoku works when I first encountered it a few years ago.

video

Obviously, my lack of sleep and eyebags did not stop me from recording this. Glad that it played nicely with the HTC TyTN II.

For first time Sudoku game players, hope you will find this short video helpful.

I miss Jelly Belly jelly beans candy

Whenever I travel in the past, usually buy a huge box of Jelly Belly jelly beans and candy pack famous from the country visited. As Australia is quite strict when it comes to food being brought in, my excitement to buy and bring these sweet stuff has lessened.

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I wish though that there are bulk wholesale candy sellers in Australia and Philippines online, like Sugar Stand for example, where one can buy and use it for parties and special gifts.

Although there are outlets that can be visited for this purpose, it will be great to just place an order online especially if the entity selling is really well known and can be trusted.

For instance, for Easter celebration, famous sweets include Jelly Belly jeans beans, candy, chocolates in the shape of eggs, bunnies, and rabbits. If sugar free candy is a preference, there are no sugar variants available also.

I think getting into the candy business is not bad at all. They are also popular during Christmas, Halloween, birthday celebrations, as a thank you gift, and other occasions.

Popular candy variants to choose from include candy sticks, caramel, gumballs, licorice, among others. You can purchase unbranded varieties in combination famous ones like Chupa Chups, Hersheys, Tootsie Roll, etc.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dead sea mineral mud mask from Holy Land

Last February 22, joined my sisters to take a walk inside SM North Edsa. Then this guy from Holy Land, upon passing their area, politely invited me to try out their product with no purchase requirement.

Since I rarely meet retail sales people who has such confident tone without sounding arrogant or hard sell, I obliged. He basically performed the following:
  • Washed my hand with their dead sea salt product.
    But knew that I can buy same product different brand so wasn't interested.

  • Given body butter for my hands.
    Well, I still have that body butter bought from The Body Shop. It smells nice. But later on, you'll just get tired of its scent.
This guy was literally willing to let me try the whole caboodle and several passersby began inquiring also to his companion salesperson. But with such an effort, I remembered that there's one product I don't mind buying - a dead sea mask.

So after a brief demonstration (rub, wash, feel the difference) and given four variants to choose from, then offered a discount, I bought the mineral mud mask.

Now that is a salesperson!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Create your own horoscope site

When I started the Fortune Reader site last December 30, 2006 it was just an experiment to support my daughter's interest on the subject of tarot reading. Out of curiosity, I read about it and even explored its business model.

Things took a serious turn when I decided to join the busby seo test competition last November 2008 and developed content. One of them is the horoscope series that inspired me to make the Fortune Reader site active again and renamed it to New Age Perspective - Free Weekly Horoscope to complement the competition entry.


Additional changes that happened to the site includes:
Creating your own horoscope site
So when people ask me if it is easy to create your own horoscope site, I give a yes and no at the same time. I say "yes it is" as there are so many resources available to gain information about it. I say "no" as it requires interest on the subject to come up with readings on a regular basis. Also sticked to tarot cards as horoscope forecasting kits require knowing the birth date of the subject. This is not applicable to general per sign reading.

I consider this still as a hobby although I'm glad it is gradually opening monetization opportunities. However, for those of you who really wants to make such a site revenue generating, be prepared to do the following:
  • Publish original horoscope reading on a daily basis.
  • Look at other perspectives (health, financial, love, family).
  • Publish special kind of readings.
I noticed that most readers arrive from search engines and your complementary offerings (revenue generating or not) must be able to support the visitor's need of wanting to know more.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Holiday vacation travel deal - last minute

I just arrived from Adelaide, Australia last night and getting settled for the hectic schedule in the weeks to come. I noticed though that April 9 to 12 is a non-working period for locals to observe the Holy Week season. And so I began looking around to see what my options are and noticed that there is not much information posted online that would allow me to make a quick decision. I was able to spot an activity in a social network - which is to visit Cavite churches on April 9 and hope to join that.

Folks are busy nowadays. In my case, a lot of travel plans are made quickly and taking a holiday is done at the last minute. There is a need for a website that caters to last minute holiday or vacation travel decisions.

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An example from the UK is ulookubook.com that gives an array of Last Minute Holidays option to explore. It allows visitors to:
  • Pick if you are getting a hotel & flight or hotel only or flight only
  • Pick destination of choice (country and city)
  • Pick a resort
  • Departure location of traveler
  • Travel date desired
  • Number of rooms
  • Number of persons
  • Accommodation name
  • Ratings desired, if any
In some cases, no results will appear and this will require you to update to see other options. Those who intend to create something similar, and as a suggestion also to the site owners, it will help if:
  • Other last minute deals to be shown for a nearby location when none is available.
  • Be given options right away upon visiting the site.
Have a meaningful Holy Week everyone!

Buy or sell items at bazaars - Grand Bazaar at the Big Tent


Nearby our house is a place called the Big Tent (Holy Spirit drive, Don Antonio, Quezon City) where parties get celebrated and small bazaars organized. Last February 15, I was at the atm nearby and saw club member Joy Montible at the bazaar area. We had snacks and catch up.

Found out that Joy was actually helping out a friend who organizes the Grand Bazaar. There will be another one happening this April 18 and 19. Parties interested in selling their stuff there can call 384-3609 or 412-3343 or 0917-4404690.

I found the bazaar interesting as I was able to buy a few affordable items there such as this nice blouse at very reasonable price. Look forward in visiting again soon.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Internet Dating 101 - Joining Communities & Profile Creation

There are many ways that you can meet people online. For me, it is mainly about business. However, I believe that care must be given in developing your profile and the way you conduct yourself to attract the people you desire. It is also similar to folks who visit chat rooms, forums, communities, and social networks to make friends. I encounter peers who are still single and can't help but complain that they are having hard time in finding the "one". Here are some tips:
  • Join communities & social networks that matches your interest.
    It should be the kind of place where you like to hang-out and will enjoy it. That even if the person of your dreams is not there, it will still be help to you.

  • Show who you are.
    Put a nice and simple photo. Give some information about you whether business and/or personal.

  • Have fun and show a sense of humor
    Of course in a good way to show that there is more about you. Interest or closeness (or even attraction) often starts when you meet someone who can make you laugh or smile.

  • Watch what you say
    Apart from being indexed in search engines, the impression you give may improve or further hurt your chances. At least, be reasonable.

  • Attend eyeball events
    Get to know the people you meet online and vice-versa. I think the primary objective is to make friends. If you hang-out in communities that are of interest to you, then this should be fun as well. Then later on, you'll meet friends-of-friends which expands the circle and where you'll meet more interesting folks.
My point for the above is that sometimes we meet the people that matched us when we are least looking. Oftentimes, it is not love at first sight. But joining communities where you get to do the things you really like will also allow you to show your best side and get closer to people without pushing yourself too hard. Opportunities also open up from there.

Image provided by Enexodia.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Designer baby slings & diaper bags for fashionistas


I am so happy that my youngest sisters, twins Jherlie and Jhermie, have their babies a month apart (February and March 2009). Being fortunate enough to see them both brings such great joy and see the benefits of starting a family a bit later in life where you have more resources at your disposal.

At the same time though, it can be a bit stressful especially when breastfeeding as the child wants to be carried and be fed despite being full already. My sister refers to it like being treated as a "human dummy". But as they learn about scheduling and routines, I'm sure they will get passed through that pretty soon.

In the family, these twins are actually our fashionistas. They always arrive in style no matter what the occassion is. Now with babies, they definitely should not lose their flair.

Baby slings and diaper bags are often needed by parents especially when going out.

For comfort and durability, investing in a good brand can be practical especially if you will be able to pass this on in the future and have more kids planned in the short term. One brand that I spotted lately is the Petunia Pickle Bottom.

(those based in the US can avail of free shipping if ordered at Layla Grayce site)

When I first saw the Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags, immediately mistaken it for a laptop bag and had to read the description to ensure that it wasn't one. It's nice to have a nice bag so that even the dads and siblings will look cool carrying one.

When going out, I also recommend to use a baby sling so that the baby can rest more comfortably while being carried, secured, and give mom or dad some room to move around, especially when eating or need to carry stuff with one hand. Petunia Pickle Bottom baby slings have nice designs also that can be worth checking out.

The next big event for us is the baptismal of these two new babies in the family. This year will definitely be exciting for the family as we welcome Jamila and Ethan in our world.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Call for Sponsors: iBlog5: The 5th Philippine Blogging Summit

iBlog5: The 5th Philippine Blogging Summit is all set! We are aiming for 150-200 newbies and professional bloggers to attend this FREE event on May 9 at the Malcolm Hall, College of Law, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

Pre-registered attendees will get a delegates kit. Two snacks and lunch are also provided.

Event registration is now open in the official website.

We are now looking for sponsors. As this is a non-profit event of the University of the Philippines College of Law - Internet Society Program (UP-ISP), all fees will be paid directly to suppliers by sponsors. This includes:

  • 2 Gold Sponsors (P45,000 per sponsor)
    This includes keynote address during the morning or after session; 2 table spaces; 2 streamers posted at the event. Collateral material included in the delegates kit. Logo posted in the website, badges, posters, and streamers.

  • Silver Sponsors (P25,000 per sponsor)
    This includes 1 table space; 1 streamer posted at the event. Collateral material included in the delegates kit. Logo posted in the website, posters, and streamers.

  • Patron Sponsors (P10,000 per sponsor)
    Collateral material included in the delegates kit. Logo posted in the website, posters, and streamers.
Parties interested can e-mail
  • hermie(dot)nas(at)gmail(dot)com or contact me.
  • You can also call the UP ISP for details. Just look for Elen Arzadon at +632-927-0368.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Learning how to use HTC TyTN II

I am a die-hard Nokia mobile phone fan, especially the 9000 series because of its keyboard. As a heavy mobile phone user, I got the opportunity to get bundled phones as part of the package. My last one, and still using it, is the Nokia N95 to which I dearly love to date especially its 3G, camera, and video taking features.

Last January, I got hold of the HTC TyTN II and find myself getting used to it. Its functionality is like a mini-computer already as it has basic Internet, wireless connectivity, and MS-Office applications. It allows you to take videos and photos. It also has GPS capabilities.


As I love to use Plurk, it became important to me whether this will be nicely viewable through this phone. I'm glad that it didn't had navigation problems unlike in my last trial.

Don't forget to check out the free extras available at the Windows Mobile site where you can get free ringtones, themes, wallpaper, games, software, among others. There are also a lot of software available for Windows Mobile that can be purchased online to maximize its use.

I also encountered some issues with this device too such as:
  • It does not have a slot for the Stylus pen. Actually it does have as pointed out to me by Donna Ureta of HTC. I think seeing the stylus pen upon content inspection of package box, immediately gave me the impression that such was it. Turns out to be an "extra".

  • ActiveSync installer in the CD had trouble running and not easy to find information in the HTC website on how to go about it. You can check out the Microsoft ActiveSync site for more information and even register for updates.
You can also join groups and meet fellow users of Windows Mobile to ask for help or advise such as:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Managing currency exchange & learn forex trading

Traveling to Australia 4 times a year for the past two years has been quite stressful especially in managing currency exchange. I often find myself in a situation where money has be to be converted from Philippines pesos - US dollars - Australia dollars and vice-versa which is Australia dollars - US dollars - Philippines pesos.

Direct currency exchange is possible but I noticed, especially in online remittance sites, they hardly do this directly and often does the computation using the U.S. dollar as the base.

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One suggestion I have been getting lately is get into Forex Trading so I will learn how to play with my money better. Although similar to the stock market that has its own risks, I'll be better off knowing the game rather than keep losing from it without taking any action.

This prompts me to visit a good number of sites to get started in this area. One site that caught my attention is FabForex.com. It has a lot of articles about foreign exchange trading including market trends, comparison, doing online research, getting a good return on investment, among others. It also has interesting write-ups on how to protect myself from scams and the likes.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I left my heart in Hundred Islands, Pangasinan

On my 2nd trip to Dagupan, Pangasinan to speak at a Search Engine Marketing & Optimization seminar, I decided to extend a day and visit the famous Hundred Islands. Many thanks to Bitstop Network Services especially to Marichu, Lief, Mark, and George (the guy beside me in two photos have been making sure I get to my commitments on time) for being such great travel buddies.


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We left Bonoan at around 8:30 am and got to Hundred Islands two hours after. There is a common registration area where you can pick between the P800 and P1400 package. We picked the P800 package as we just want to look around for now. This allowed us to visit three islands: Governor's, Quezon, and Children islands.

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Governor's Island was our first stop. There was a long uphill trek that made me catch my breath. However, upon seeing the top view, it was well worth it.

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I actually got confused and mistaken Governor's Island for Quezon Island. Thus the retraction video above. We also had funny photos at the cave that made me joke about Mark and refer to him as Samson in the video. I also naturally turn red (tisay) when exposed to sunlight that usually catches the eye of a lot of friends.

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After this, we stepped into our boat and tried a version of bibingka only available in Laoag as I made an intro about going to Quezon island.

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On our way, we spotted some unusual shape islands that looks like a turtle. It was an interesting sight to look at and great for photo shots.

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We realized that Quezon Island is a snorkeling spot and has somewhat like a helicopter pad that also allows you to view the other islands. This is where I decided to eat some ice cream and cool myself.

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At this point, we were also contemplating of going to the Pinoy Big Brother house instead of Children's Island. However, when we soon realize that its location is in Governor's Island, we changed our plans and resume with Chilren's island. I refrained taking a video of the actual beach as it would require me to seek parental consent for capturing children on video and post them here.

I never really got the chance to video myself during travel so doing this blog post was quite fun and awkward at the same time. However, I must say that I fell in love with Hundred Islands and will definitely want to go back there again and really enjoy it the next time. That would include swimming and snorkeling. Also wearing a more appropriate outfit.

It is also a great place to clear your head and just breathe.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jherlie's Newborn Baby - Jamila Laine


Last February 5, my sister Jherlie had her newborn baby girl - Jamila Laine. My warmest congratulations to proud parents Joniel & Jherlie.

As Jherlie also welcomes any info about luck, this might be of interest (from New Age Perspective):
  • Aquarius is her sign.
  • Color - blue (environment - mood stabilizer), green (wardrobe power color)
  • Star - Markab
  • Angel - Gambiel
  • Guardian Angel - Gabriel
  • Gem - Sapphire
  • Spiritual stone - Ruby
  • Lucky charm - rabbit's foot or white candle
  • Lucky numbers - 5, 7, 14, 23
  • Traits of February 5 celebrants are:
    - creative, intuitive, imaginative
    - present themselves as perfect
    - seem mysterious
    - warm & loving
    - fascination for unknown or off-color
    - temperamental
    - relationships border on the unusual
    - roots for the underdog
    - strong desire to be needed / caretaker of family, friends, & strangers
    - fun-loving attitude
    - can excel in medicine, education, arts, films, design
    - career switcher
    - see the world differently from most
    - will have an interesting journey of life (including detours taken)
    - needs to maintain some balance like keeping a journal (even a blog)
Not known to many but Jherlie is actually the owner of Posh Marketing Services who have been marketing my seminars for the past few years now. She now has her own condo in Pasig and currently looking for bedspacers.

As I was in Australia some time last year, she also joined four bloggers to document a Puerto Princesa City travel experience.

It will be a newborn babies season for us this month as I'm also expecting Jherlie's twin sister, Jhermie, to have her baby soon.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Trip to Mayon Volcano & Mayon Resthouse

I've been to Legazpi City several times that allowed me to have a glimpse of Mayon Volcano during those occasions. Although one has to visit very early in the morning to see the cone clearly. Otherwise it will be full of clouds and friends will give you their favorite joke about it.

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Mayon Volcano is famous for its perfect shape and one of the most visited especially during times of eruption where folks go out of their way to document it.

There is also another spot nearby, the Mayon Resthouse that allows you to see the Mayon Volcano well if it isn't foggy. It will take at least an hour from Legazpi City to reach this particular place.

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I found out that Mayon Resthouse used to be a hotel and there are efforts to re-build the establishment. There is also a planetarium but it was already close when we got there.

Of course, reaching Mayon Resthouse & Mayon Volcano was made possible thanks to our SEMCON Bicol hosts Alvin, Marianne, and Ariel. I'm sure Andrea (& her friend), Hans, and Gary also enjoyed it.

Until next time...